May 292013
 

One of the most intriguing Spirou publications announced for the 75th anniversary was Le Spirou de Chaland, collecting Yves Chaland’s work on the series. Since his version of Les aventures de Spirou only ran for 23 double-strips, and these have previously been collected in the special album Fantasio et le fantôme (where they take up 16 pages), the question was what this new book would contain.

Some key details have now surfaced (including a slight change in title), with a picture of its catalog entry posted on the BDGest forum:

Catalog entries on 'Franquin et le design' and 'Spirou par Chaland' (ill. Dupuis, via icecool/BDGest)

The most interesting piece of information is that it will run 128 pages, which obviously means it must include a lot more material than what was published in the Journal de Spirou. Chaland worked on a number of other Spirou stories that were never finished (some collected after his death in Yves Chaland: Les Inachevés, “The Unfinished Chaland”), and concluded his strip adventure in the form of a picture book shortly before his death (both parts of the story are available together from Champaka under the title Cœurs d’acier, “Hearts of Steel”). He also made many Spirou illustrations and sketches that could be included. The length indicates that much if not all of this material will finally be made generally available.

At 26 x 15.5 cm, the landscape-format Le Spirou par Chaland will be significantly smaller in size than Champaka’s Cœurs d’acier. How it will reproduce artwork and pages in portrait format, and whether it will be in color, are still open questions.

May 282013
 

Spirou 53 cover (ill. Cinebook, Tome & Janry) Cinebook’s fourth Spirou album (#41 in the original album order) is now available from the publisher, and should be in bookstores both on- and off-line within the next few days. Continuing the story from Running Scared (although it can be read independently), the adventure finds Spirou and Fantasio – and Spip – trapped in a lost valley in the Himalayas, full of strange creatures, hidden dangers and the remains of past expeditions as well as ancient civilizations. Originally published in 1989, it is frequently cited as Tome & Janry’s best.

There will be a review coming (relatively) soon.

 

 

 

May 262013
 

Spirou à Cuba (“Spirou in Cuba”) is one of the great what-ifs in the history of the series.  Announced as the next Spirou adventure in 2000, following Tome & Janry’s radical re-imagining of the series in Machine qui rêve (“Machine That Dreams”; Spirou 46), it never appeared, and the comic went into hiatus. As late as 2004, Tome & Janry were still publicly saying they would finish it, even as the publisher started looking for someone else to take over The Adventures of Spirou and Fantasio.

A couple of inked pages were finally shown as part of an exhibition in 2008, stoking the interest of fans. However, with the series in new hands, the duo no longer seemed to have any intention of completing it. Their negative experience working as one of three rival Spirou teams (alongside Nic & Cauvin and Yves Chaland) when they first took over the series also made them disinclined to have it published as an out-of-continuity one-shot album.

It was therefore a pleasant surprise when in 2011 the eight completed pages of the story appeared in issue #3839 of the Journal de Spirou (a “come-back” issue that brought back a number of comics from the magazine’s past for a special appearance). Retitled Zorglub à Cuba (“Zorglub in Cuba”), presumably because Spirou barely appears in these pages, this is likely to be all we’ll ever see of Tome & Janry’s final Spirou adventure. Continue reading »

May 242013
 
Roch'fort en Bulles (ill. Bannister)

Poster by Bannister

Poster for a comics festival in Rochefort. This year’s guest of honor is Spirou (whatever that means); other guests include Tarrin, Feroumont and Bertrand Pissavy-Yvernault (La véritable histoire de Spirou).

The Turbotraction car keys are a nice detail! (I assume the telescope is some sort of local reference. The monument in the background is the Porte de l’Arsenal.)

May 232013
 

In honor of Fournier, who turned 70 earlier this week, here’s a special scanlation from the Galerie des illustres. Emmanuel Lepage tells the story of how he first met the Spirou artist (shortly before he left the series; Des haricots partout – or “Beans Everywhere!” – would be his last album).

La galerie des illustres p. 229 (ill. Lepage, Dupuis; SR scanlation)This page was first published in the Journal de Spirou issue #3703 (2009).

May 222013
 

If you’re an aspiring comic creator with a drawer full of unpublished work, you might be interested to learn that Spirou.Z, the upcoming digital comic/tablet app from the Journal de Spirou, is currently recruiting.

To apply, contact the editors at spirouz@spirou.com. (I’m guessing you can probably write in English as well, if your stuff is good.)

May 212013
 

Jean-Claude Fournier (photo from danielmaghen.com)

Today is Jean-Claude Fournier’s 70th birthday. In 1968, the young Fournier was given an apparent dream job when he was chosen to succeed Franquin as Spirou artist and writer. An impossible task, but the Breton artist hung in there for 9 full albums before conflicts with the publisher led to him being pushed out. He later achieved greater success with his own series, particularly Crannibales. Through his comics studio and famously generous nature he has become a mentor for Breton comic creators, including Michel Plessix (The Wind in the Willows) and Emmanuel Lepage. He was recently portrayed by Nicoby & Joub in the biographical comic Dans l’atelier de Fournier.

Happy birthday Fournier!

May 212013
 

Cobolt has just released the Danish edition of Gringos Locos by Schwartz & Yann.

Gringos Locos cover (ill. Schwartz, Yann, Cobolt)

The album tells the story of how in 1948 Jean Gillain (Jijé: Spirou, Valhardi, Jerry Spring) brought his family and his protegés André Franquin (Spirou, Gaston) and Maurice de Bevere (Morris: Lucky Luke) on a journey through the US and Mexico. This trip by the three artists (initially for the purpose of seeking jobs at Disney and escaping the Soviet invasion feared by Jijé) would inspire some of their most famous creations, and take on the stature of a legendary adventure.

For Spirou fans, it offers a fascinating (if fictionalized) look behind the scenes during the series’ formative period, and at two of its most important creators before they achieved their greatest fame; as well as another exquisitely illustrated period piece from the team behind Le groom vert-de-gris (“The field-gray bellhop”). No other Scandinavian editions have been announced, so interested Nordic fans should seek out this Danish publication.

(A review may follow at some later date, but probably not any time soon.)

May 192013
 

This week’s scanlation is a page by Juanjo Guarnido and Juan Díaz Canales, the creators of Blacksad. Since 2008, the Journal de Spirou has invited different artists to create a page that pays homage to or expresses their own relationship with the magazine and its comics. The results have been enormously varied and unpredictable. A new sample would appear in almost every issue, and finally this year, the ones so far (more than 200) were collected in a coffee-table book as La galerie des illustres. Guarnido and Canales’s entry originally appeared in issue #3872 in 2012.

Spirou, Blacksad and Sorcelleries (ill. Guarnido, Canales, Dupuis; SR scanlation)In addition to the appearances by Spirou and Fantasio from The Adventures of… and Blacksad and Weekly from Blacksad, in the last panel it turns out that Hazel (a baby fairy raised by witches, from Guarnido and Valero’s Sorcelleries) is responsible for the crossover.